The cinema, images which dance
1/26/10

Animation is moreover much cited in the book. Logically: the cinema of animation in fact preceded cinema, observed Dick Tomasovic: "The danced gesture was one of the founders of the cinema of animation."

In its second chapter, Kino-Tanz thus evokes the ‘revolution’ which was the cartoon ‘Little Nemo’ by Winsor McCay (1911). "Animation found in dance the means of writing itself,"explains Dick Tomasovic. "McCay comes from comic books, and when he reinvents the cinema of animation, he finds himself with a new space which is given first of all within time: the animation has to be projected and then read, and thus it has to be timed. To manage this new space, questions impose themselves, and McCay responds to them through the writing of the danced gesture: what will the characters do over the duration, in the time? A dance! Theorists of dance stress that space is not given to a dancer: he himself creates his space. This concept marks a clear break with classical ballet, and it is a break which McCay introduced in his animation. It is furthermore it is a frequent occurrence that people dance in animation films."

Dick Tomasovic’s work is bursting at the seams with examples of this assertion, which he illustrates in his seventh chapter through Walt Disney’s Pinocchio (1940) and, in parallel, Gene Kelly’s Invitation to the Dance (1958). In this second film, without dialogue, Gene Kelly dances up until he blends in with an animated décor. On the contrary, Pinocchio evokes the transformation of an object, a puppet, into a ‘real’ little boy, and it does so notably through dance. "These two examples show that dance could be used order to metamorphose," explains Dick Tomasovic. "To disrupt drastically the status of the body in representation. It’s an obsessive question for me. Dance is the pure act of metamorphoses. And besides, the great question posed by Hollywood cinema is "how to transform the body into a figurine,"how to complete the fetishisation of the body. Behind that are commercial stakes: the public becomes attached to fetishes. In this regard, the approach taken by Gene Kelly is interesting: he goes all the way in this fetishisation. Walt Disney, in fact, did the opposite: after his first successes he tried to ‘get out of’ animation through any means."

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